Travel Tips for COVID-19

14 September 2020 |

Dozens of countries have started to reopen their borders, meaning that some popular destinations are now accessible to tourists again. But that doesn’t mean the COVID-19 threat is over altogether. Many governments are still advising travelers to avoid all non-essential travel to other regions.

With that said, travel is no longer off the table but travelers need to protect themselves and take precautions when visiting other countries. This post will take a look at practical steps travelers can take to stay safe including insurance options they should consider while abroad.

Travel Tips for COVID-19

COVID-19 Summaries/Reminders

It’s safe to assume that you’re now well-acquainted with COVID-19 – it’s no longer the mysterious virus it was at the beginning of 2020. With that said, it’s important to mention some vital reminders about the virus. It’s important to do so since we are continuing to learn new things about it daily and battling an onslaught of misinformation.

Signs/Symptoms

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The symptoms of COVID-19 can vary considerably in terms of severity. There are also several symptoms that are not reported in the majority of patients, which have been identified in a minority of sufferers.

Transmission

  • Direct or close contact with infected oral or nasal secretions (ie. saliva, cough droplets)
  • Indirect contact (objects or surfaces contaminated with infected bodily fluids)

Prognosis

  • Most patients will develop mild illness and recover within a few weeks
  • Many patients will be asymptomatic (show no symptoms at all)
  • Elderly adults and individuals with pre-existing conditions are at an increased risk for severe illness and death
  • Severe illness may lead to complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), renal failure, blood clots and more
  • The overall death rate at the time of this writing is 3.5%

Treatment/Prevention

  • Treatment is primarily supportive and addresses individual symptoms
  • They include the use of oxygen, ventilators, IVs and other standard treatment options
  • Experimental and repurposed drugs (varying rates of effectiveness)
  • Vaccines are in development
  • The most effective prevention methods at the moment are regular handwashing, social distancing (staying 6 feet apart), wearing masks/face coverings, and quarantining sick individuals

Myths/Misconceptions

  • You can find a list of common myths/misconceptions about the novel coronavirus myths and their true/false status at the WHO website

Current COVID-19 Status Worldwide

As it stands, the COVID-19 pandemic is still an active and rapidly evolving health crisis. A large number of countries that saw widespread caseloads in previous months have seen steady declines in new infections, while others have seen exponential spikes.

Some countries have been able to contain their cases to a level where few if any new cases are being reported, while others are seeing a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases. You can track the number of new cases and deaths using the Worldometer site.

As world governments, scientists and researchers have developed a better understanding of the virus, they’ve been able to make progress in containing and treating the disease. This has prompted dozens of countries worldwide to reopen their borders for travel and tourism. You can find a list of these countries here.

Practical Travel Tips During COVID-19

Now that travel restrictions are being lifted throughout the world, many people will resume their travel plans. Are you among them? If so, it’s important to plan ahead because the way you (and everyone else) travel has fundamentally changed – possibly forever). 

The reality is that traveling will increase your chances of getting or spreading COVID-19. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you have to cancel buying your ticket just yet. Taking the right precautions beforehand can greatly reduce your risk of getting sick while traveling abroad.

Check Travel Restrictions Before Buying Your Ticket

This one is a no-brainer. Some countries are still under complete lockdowns although this is subject to change. Other countries are permitting travel but have strict quarantine/isolation measures and regulations in place.

Yet still, there are countries that implemented stay-at-home orders and testing requirements for travelers who plan to visit. It’s vital that you check all of these regulations before traveling so that you don’t land in a compromising situation.

While you’re at it, familiarize yourself with other restrictions regarding attendance at public venues, events, the use of public transit, and other infrastructure. Doing so will help you pack the right items in your luggage and save you hassles abroad.

Consider Your Health Status Beforehand 

COVID-19 is mild for most individuals, especially those who are younger (under age 50) and free of health problems. However, it can be very dangerous (and deadly) to the elderly and those battling chronic conditions already. There are some conditions that have already been established as being risk factors for more severe COVID illness including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Cancer 

If you’re dealing with any of the following conditions, it’s essential that you assess your current state of health. If your condition is under control and responding to treatment, then your risk might be low. The key for you is to bring all necessary medications and medical supplies as a precaution against a sudden flare-up.

However, you might want to postpone traveling if you have a more serious chronic condition until it’s under control and responding well to treatment. This is also important to think about for your family members, especially elderly ones.

For example, if you have elderly parents who want to visit you, it’s highly recommended that you know their exact medical status before they visit so that you can take precautions to keep them safe during their stay with you. And regardless of your/family members’ status, however, we recommend getting visitors health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition and plan to travel abroad during the COVID pandemic.

Pack the Right Protective Supplies and Make a Social Distancing Checklist

Regardless of the restrictions in the area you plan to visit, it’s important that you protect yourself and others prudently. Don’t leave anything to chance or be too relaxed. You will decrease your risk of getting COVID-19 significantly if you practice the following guidelines. 

  • Wear a mask while traveling in shared vehicles (ie. plane, bus, train) and while in public or indoor settings
  • Avoid close contact with non-family members by staying 6 feet apart (2 meters)
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after touching objects in public
  • Avoid close contact with sick individuals
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Try to avoid touching frequently used surfaces and objects in public (ie. handrails, elevator buttons, card machine buttons)
  • Cover sneezes and coughs

The “rules” of hygiene are fundamentally the same, but you need to practice them with increased vigilance.

Take Precautions Based on the Mode of Transportation

Depending on your intended destination, getting from point A to point B has granted you a few options. Some destinations are reachable only by air travel, of course. However, you might be able to get to certain destinations on land via a bus, train or car. Although cruise ships are largely being avoided, the sea (boats) is yet another option. With that said, travelling with any of these vehicles brings along their own set of risks and that’s why you need to prepare ahead of time.

By Air 

  • Wear a mask at ALL times when on a plane
  • Limit the amount of contact you make with frequently touched surfaces
  • Where possible, avoid sitting too close to your fellow passengers

By Land – Buses & Trains 

  • Wear a mask at ALL times when on a plane
  • Limit the amount of contact you make with frequently touched surfaces
  • Where possible, avoid sitting too close to your fellow passengers

By Land – Cars 

  • Limit the number of stops you make for food (reserve mainly for bathroom breaks)
  • Make food in advance and bring with you (to limit the number of stops made)
  • Limit your car group to those living with you

By Land – RVs 

  • Limit the number of stops you make for food (reserve mainly for bathroom breaks)
  • Make food in advance and bring with you (to limit the number of stops made)
  • Limit your car group to those who live with you

Travel Insurance for COVID-19

The last but not least important precautionary measure you should consider is the purchase of travel insurance. Travel carries an inherent risk of illness or injury, even in the absence of a pandemic, making it wise to purchase visitor insurance. However, now that the pandemic is in full-swing, it’s even more important to purchase this traveler insurance while abroad.

There are a few reasons for this.

First off, anyone who’s traveling with a pre-existing condition should already be looking at visitors insurance that offers acute on-set coverage in the event of a sudden flare-up. It can save families and their loved ones from the financial burdens of medical expenses incurred overseas.

It’s even more imperative during these times, where anyone can contract or spread COVID-19 during their travels. If you or a loved one contracts COVID-19 during your travels, there is a risk of needing hospitalization, which could likely bring about medical fees.

Fortunately, there are insurance plans that can protect you and your family in the event of contracting the disease or experiencing a flare-up from another condition.

Visitor Insurance for COVID-19 Exposure/Illness 

Currently, Safe Travel USA Comprehensive offers visitor insurance which can cover  COVID-19 as well as any other illness as long as it’s not considered a pre-existing condition. It offers this protection for visitors to the US who have insurance plans that do not offer coverage from pandemics. Among these provisions is coverage for charges associated with COVID-related illness and medical evacuation as well as required testing to diagnose infections.

Visitor Insurance for Acute Onset/Pre-Existing Conditions 

Although this provision isn’t COVID-19 specific, visitor insurance that offers coverage for acute onset is a protection for those with chronic conditions. Symptoms of a disease may suddenly flare up, resulting in emergency medical treatment or hospitalization for sufferers.

This may be very costly for the victims and their families, forcing them to pay for these expenses out of pocket. Visitors health insurance that offers this type of coverage means that sufferers of chronic conditions can have their ambulance rides, medications, and hospital visits paid for. This is highly recommended for elderly parents who may be dealing with chronic illness and plan to travel abroad.

There’s no need to worry about out-of-pocket expenses.

Traveling With COVID in Mind

Travel is slowly starting to pick up, and it will only be a matter of time before we can vacation like we did before. But COVID-19 is still an active problem and needs to be treated as such – by all of us. By taking the necessary precautions listed above, you can lower the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 for both you and your loved ones. Your travels won’t be the same as before, but they can be nearly as safe nonetheless.

VisitorGuard.com